Friday, September 1, 2017

Gem Mining of Taita-Taveta, Kenya

Taita–Taveta County is a county of Kenya. It lies approximately 200 km northwest of Mombasa and 360 km southeast of Nairobi. Taita Taveta County is endowed with vast mineral resources. The county is home to over 40 types of gemstones.

Some of the gemstones found in the area include tsavorite, red and green garnets, ruby, colour change, blue sapphire, pink sapphire, green tourmalines, yellow tourmalines, rhodolites and kyanites.
The vast wealth of Taita Taveta has not cascaded down to the region's 280,000-plus population. A majority of residents live in relative poverty. The small artisan miners who are the main source of the gemstone production industry see only a tiny fraction of the revenue that the stones bring.

Color-change garnet from Kenya's Taita-Taveta region
Most gems are smuggled out of the country to waiting buyers, who then deliver them to the global markets for a fortune.

Gemstone miners suffer greatly in pursuit of riches. So when they hit pay dirt, they go overboard and waste most of it on debauchery. A fool and his money parting company is often courtesy of the age-old twin catalysts - women and alcohol.

When the overnight millionaires go broke, it is not uncommon to spot them glumly sporting akala tire sandals and smoking cheap cigarettes as they search for the next windfall.
In Kenya, recycled tires become tough, inexpensive sandals called akalas.